Namibia, Guyana holds equal amount of offshore oil reserves

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Guyana and Namibia’s oil reserves are estimated to be identical at 11 billion barrels, according to recent data released by the state-owned National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR). 

From NAMCOR’s data, the bulk of Namibia’s resources are from TotalEnergies’ Venus-1X discovery, which it said accounted for nearly half of this colossal reserve.

Namibia, a southern African nation that has not yet commenced oil or gas production, has swiftly emerged as a global exploration hotspot over the past two years, primarily due to deep water discoveries by industry giants such as Shell and TotalEnergies. Additionally, major oil companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Galp Energia have initiated exploration and appraisal activities in the region.

NAMCOR predicts that this series of discoveries could position Namibia among the world’s top 15 oil producers by 2035, offering the nation a unique opportunity to double its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in less than a decade.

According to the NAMCOR presentation, reviewed by Reuters, the Venus well is estimated to contain approximately 5.1 billion barrels of oil, while Shell’s Graff-1X holds 2.38 billion barrels, and Jonker-1X is believed to have another 2.5 billion barrels. These reserves are still in the appraisal phase, and a final estimate is expected to be released later this year.

NAMCOR has outlined an ambitious development strategy for Venus and Jonker, describing it as a “multi-phased incremental” approach. NAMCOR also holds a 10% interest in these discoveries. However, there is currently no defined development concept for Shell’s Graff and other Le Rona wells.

NAMCOR’s preliminary estimates also suggest that Graff and Venus alone have the potential to nearly double Namibia’s GDP by 2040, reaching close to US$37 billion. This substantial economic boost could usher in a new era of prosperity for Namibia and its citizens.

While Namibia’s resource count is spread over three finds, Guyana’s are the accumulation of more than 30 discoveries in the Stabroek Block. 

Both the Graff-X1 and Venus-X1 finds, according to Westwood Global Energy Group share similarities with the Guyana-Suriname Basin play

The energy market intelligence platform said the discoveries have proved the presence of an extensive, prolific oil kitchen, and that its analysis suggests that “the Lower Cretaceous Venus play has a potential extent of up to ~58,000km², comparable to that of the Upper Cretaceous of Suriname-Guyana.”

It said a Suriname-Guyana scale oil province is “certainly possible”, “provided that the traps are present and the deepwater reservoirs are widespread and of good enough quality.”

The discoveries are a long-awaited breakthrough for Namibia, and potentially also for South Africa into which the Orange Basin extends, Westwood pointed out.

This is also similar to how discoveries played out in the Guyana-Suriname basin, with Guyana’s discoveries creating excitement for Suriname.

Westwood had also named Guyana and Namibia among oil exploration and production jurisdictions where high-impact exploration has proven successful.


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